Judging by their behavior since Hurricane Irma knocked out power, many motorists in Florida don't know how to drive when there isn't a traffic light to tell them what to do.
The answer is simple: You must stop, period, said Sgt. Steve Gaskins of the Florida Highway Patrol.
"You must treat non-working traffic lights as a four way stop, even if there is not a police officer there," Gaskins said.
That holds true even if it appears that no one is coming, Gaskins said. If two cars arrive at an intersection at the same time, the car to the right goes first. But don't count on other motorists to remember this, Gaskins said.
"Come to a complete stop and make eye contact with other drivers at an intersection," Gaskins said. "Be patient. A lot of people have a hard time remembering what the rules of the road are when there isn't someone or something to tell them what to do."
And don't just roll through behind the motorist in front of you. The stop he or she makes doesn't count as your stop.
At mid-day Tuesday, more than 100 traffic signals were out across Hillsborough County, said Cristal Nunez, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman.
Gaskins said motorists failing to follow the law is one of the biggest issues the highway patrol is dealing with after Irma knocked out power for many parts of the state. Accidents caused by scofflaws distracts from efforts to get the state back to normal, he said.
"Every time someone crashes at an intersection like that, it means another officer who has to be pulled away from recovery efforts to deal with an accident," Gaskins said.
Failing to stop at a non-working traffic light can result in a citation, he said.
"It is a violation, and you will be looking at a ticket if we catch you."
Contact Jonathan Capriel at [email protected]